Retail trading hours overhaul

The Palaszczuk Government has announced the overhaul of Queensland’s retail trading hours to create jobs, end confusion and increase choice for consumers, and protect workers.  The existing 99 trading hour provisions, contained in over 40 pages of orders would be replaced by just six.

The retail sector is the second-largest employer in the state and reform of trading hours also benefit our tourism and hospitality industries. The retail trade industry in Queensland employs 255,000 Queenslanders or 11% of all jobs across the State, paying $9.9 billion in wages and accounting for $76 billion in sales.

Independent studies on the relaxation of trading hours have projected an economic benefit to Queensland ranging from $200 million (Queensland Competition Authority, 2013) and $253 million (Henry Ergas, 2014).

The National Retailers’ Association estimated substantial deregulation would deliver a $440 million boost to Queensland’s economy and add the equivalent of 3109 full-time jobs.

The key reforms, to be introduced via legislation, include:

  • Sunday and public holiday trading to be standardised across Queensland, with those towns that currently do not have Sunday trading able to opt in through an application to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission
  • Easter Sunday to be an open trading day across the State (for those that have Sunday trading)
  • Exempt shops that can trade without restriction to be extended to include butcher shops, special exhibitions and trade shows
  • Provision for special trading hours’ applications for international events such as the Commonwealth Games
  • Businesses selling motor vehicles or caravans are to be the same as for all other non-exempt shops in Queensland, permitting them to trade on Sundays.
  • All hardware stores can open on Sundays from 6am
  • All non-exempt shops must be closed on Good Friday, ANZAC Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day.

To facilitate the change, there will be a five-year moratorium on further trading hours’ applications to amend the allowable trading hours for non-exempt shops with a commitment to further review prior to the end of the moratorium period.

It is anticipated that the more flexible, standardised, and arrangements will generate significant economic benefits by cutting the regulatory burden, lifting competition and improving outcomes for consumers.

The Inquiry, led by former Parliamentary Speaker John Mickel, reported that an overhaul of trading hours would:

  • reduce direct compliance costs
  • increase operational efficiency or productivity
  • increase retail sales
  • increase retail competition leading to lower prices for consumers.

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